Rebecca Eckler: Travelling With a Baby is Really a Crapshoot

Travelling with a kids is a pain, but at least you get to board first


I recently needed to go on a business trip by plane and something felt very wrong. I think it was because I was alone.

I don’t mind travelling alone, but after having travelled with my daughter and my son, it felt really odd. Travelling with a baby is somewhat of a pain. It’s a crapshoot really. You never really know if your baby is going to be good on the plane or bad on the plane. So I don’t really worry about that. Holt is either going to be good, or bad. Suck it up people. But packing for a baby for a plane ride, however, is a real pain.

You need to pack extra clothes, a ton of diapers, bottles, Tylenol (I believe in drugging on planes) toys, food, and there’s also always something you forget. Last time I took the baby on a trip, I brought food but forgot a baby spoon. Not good. And, because you hear such horror stories about being stuck on runways for hours (although this has never happened to me) you feel like you do need to be prepared, which is why you pack 12 diapers, an entire box of wipes, and enough food to feed five babies, all for a four-hour plane ride.

But, to me, there is a definite beauty in travelling with a baby. And that is hearing the words; “We are now boarding people with young children or who need extra help.” I love, love, love to get on a plane first. Why? Because there are so many morons who try to pass off actual luggage as “carry-on” (I’m sometimes on of these people, I’ll admit) and it’s hard to find space.

I don’t like to be crammed in lines, which doesn’t happen if you are first on the plane. Also, I like to get “settled” even when I’m alone travelling. I like to get on a plane, take out my bottle of water, my magazines and snacks, so I’m all ready for the plane ride. So I realized that what felt very wrong last time I travelled by myself is that I didn’t get the chance to board first. To me, it really is better to be able to board first, because even though you have to sit there longer, waiting for everyone to get on, at least you can settle yourself, and even possibly fall asleep before take off (which is what I usually try to do.)

So, yes, travelling with a baby and all their stuff, including a stroller, is a pain. But at least you get to board first, have space for your luggage, and have a chance to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Alone, I had to wait in line, try to find room for my carry-on, got banged on the head numerous times by people in front and back of me trying to put their luggage up.

So if you’re worried about travelling with a baby this March Break, think of the positives. And one of them is hearing those sweet words, “We’re boarding first those with small children.” 


Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most well-known journalists. She has been a columnist with the National Post, Canada's national newspaper, for five years, including a stint as a New York-based columnist and feature writer. She is the best-selling author of Knocked UpWiped!Toddlers Gone Wild, How to Raise a Boyfriend and The Lucky Sperm Club. Rebecca lives in Toronto with her fiancé and family. 

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